If `summer of hell` has an epicenter, it’s Northern Manhattan, congressman says

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan — Northern Manhattan residents have been hit hardest by the "summer of hell," according to politicians who hosted a meeting meant to address the commuters' concerns.

Between 50 and 60 residents attended a meeting sponsored by a group of politicians who said these residents feel they have been hit hardest by subway derailments, commuter delays congestion and cancellations.

"If is the summer of hell, then this is the epicenter of hell, right here in Northern Manhattan,” Rep. Adriano Espaillat, democrat from Upper Manhattan, said.

"Summer of hell," a phrase first said by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, describes the anticipated delays caused by repair work at Penn Station lasting through the summer.

Of particular concern at the meeting was last Monday's track fire in which 1 million commuters were affected after subway lines A, B, C and D were shut down and then Nos. 1, 2,3 and 4 lines were delayed and overcrowded.

"Every day there had been a delay,” Hope Kaye, an agent subway rider said. "It's hellish and pathetic."

At this two hour meeting, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer talked about his study: The Human Cost of Subway Delays and the $30 to $50 billion it would cost to fix.

"We need new signals, we need new tracks, we definitely need new subway cars," Stringer said. “We have a long-term strategy to bring the system back, but we also have some short-term needs and that is going to cost billions as well."

But because the MTA wasn't at this meeting, several Northern Manhattan residents were upset.

"It wasn't worth while because the MTA wasn't here,” Juan Rosa, a West Harlem resident, said. “The congressman promised that the testimonies are going to be given to the MTA, but it would have been very helpful if they were here.”

Another resident said the meeting “was for show.”

Some of the angry subway riders said they would go to the MTA's next meeting to tell board members how they feel.